Monday, December 22, 2008

One step forward, One step back - and Cake!!!

On Thursday I felt as though I was returning to the land of the living and managed to finish sewing up this jumper for my 14 year old DS. He chose the yarn and described what he wanted. I got out the graph paper and duly obliged. I hope it has turned out just the way he wants :

On Friday it was my 40++ ish birthday and DH made me a chocolate sponge cake and decorated it himself with iced knitting. It looked and tasted wonderful !!!

On Saturday I was back in hospital but the second lot of antibiotics seem to be doing the trick and I can breathe properly - and without pain- for the first time in 2 weeks. I think I am going to survive - I have already booked my b & b at Woolfest so I had better get well LOL
Merry (insert appropriate felicitations depending on your personal belief system here) XXXXX

Thursday, December 18, 2008

On The Mend

First - a great big Thank You to the girls at the Coventry Knit-wits group. I woke up this morning to dicover that one of them had put a Get Well Soon card through my letterbox. It was lovely to read all the messages and good wishes from them all XXXXX

I am on the mend. The antibiotics have kicked in, I dont have a blood clot on my lung (phew) and the terrible pain when I breathe has gone. I envisage lots of sleeping over the next few days as I feel weak as a kitten, but very much better than I was. Does anyone know how long it takes to feel 100% again after Pneumonia? I go back to the hospital in 10 days.

I havent had the strength or breath to knit since this started, but have taken photos of the Christmas pressies I made. I am so glad I got them finished early : ) I will post the photos up etc in a week or two. Thank goodness for the Snooker to watch or I would have gone loopy today. I cant concentrate to read yet, but I hope to pick up my needles and do some knitting at the weekend.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I have spent today in the company of the NHS. I have been like the living dead for a few days and have never felt so ill in my life. I didnt want to bother the Doctor so I waited until I just couldnt take any more - which was this morning after 3 nights and days without sleep cos I cant breathe properly and it hurts so much to cough.

I got to the Doctors at 11.20 am. I was immediately sent to the Hospital for x-rays etc and, by 2.30 pm I was on antibiotics, pain relief and had a diagnosis of Pneumonia and pleurisy.

I dont know whether I am relieved to actually know that I wasnt being a coward but am really ill. I am quite scared cos it is so painful and overwhelming.

To add to the whole experience, they suspect a blood clot in my lungs too so I have had 2 injections of a blood thinner and have to go back tomorrow for a CT scan - apparently I have 'sticky blood', whatever that is.

The NHS people were fantastic, from my Doctor, to the consultant, nurses and everyone involved. I cannot praise them highly enough. Even the nurse taking all the blood samples was fast and gentle. Thank God for the NHS!!!

I'm off to resume dying and sounding like a consumptive on my sofa cos I cant breathe properly unless I sit up. I will catch up again when the antibiotics etc have kicked in : )

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I have learned that it is very hard to post on on ones blog when everything is a secret.

I have been knitting - but I cant show you because they are secret presents.

I have been crocheting - ditto

I have even been sewing - guess what - yep, its a secret : )

Oh well. I will have plenty to show and talk about in the new year LOL

Meanwhile, the workshop has been re-organised, tidied up and spring cleaned and I am learning to use a Morticer (it cuts square holes in wood) and a Circular saw (which is like one of those big round rotating saws with teeth that James Bond nearly gets sawn in half on in the Movies). I have dinky new ear defenders which I have customised with pink fur fabric, and a 13" high wooden box to stand on to reach the workbench which is set at DH's height. I'm quite enjoying myself. I have always used the Pillar drill and Band Saw etc, but not the bigger stuff. I will tackle the Planer/Thicknesser (the big daddy of tools with lots of fearsome blades and whirring things) after Christmas.

I notice nobody interrupts me when I am using them : )

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Birthday Socks

I have finished these socks just in time. Once I have done the toe seam they will be sent off to my eldest daughter. She is 26 years old on Sunday and is a lovely dauhter any mother would be proud of.
I am also sending a handknited beret in camoflage colours for her to wear with her doc Martens, but I dont have a photo of that : ( Last year she went bungee jumping for her birthday - I think its a flying lesson this year LOL

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Closing Down

Unfortunately, due to health problems, Sublime Spindles & Sunflower Swifts is closing down for the Winter. We hope we can re-open for orders in the Spring but will have to wait and see. We will keep you posted.

Thank you all for your support over the past 2 years. On the left hand column of this page there is a list of our products. If you click on any of those then a list will come up of our stockists. We have made sure all our orders have been fulfilled and so they may have what you want.

Best wishes, Richard & Claire XXXXX

Monday, November 10, 2008

Crochet Progress........

I am getting a bit braver with my crochet now and have started a scarf for me. It is made from Hayfield Bonus Aran and feels very soft and snuggly.

The pattern is called Fan Lace Scarf from the book The Encyclopedia of Crochet Techniques by Jan Eaton. I'm glad Jane showed me how to read charts because the written instruction are indecipherable to me so I am just looking at the chart and hoping. I have done 12" so far so only another 48" to go!!!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

I can Crochet (sort of)

I have had a bit of a go at crochet this week. I am using aran weight wool and a 5.5mm hook and it seems to be going OK. My previous attempts, before being shown how to do it properly, were not too spectacular. I got as far as making granny squares very, very slowly if someone started me off. It made my fingers hurt from pulling the loops over the hook and my wrists would ache after 10 mins. My one and only stitch turns out to have been trebles.

I didn't realise that the hook was supposed to be tilted and would then slide smoothly through the loops or that the yarn was held in my left hand, wrapped between my fingers to tension it. This method of crochet was so much easier. No wrist pain, no cramped fingers at all and I can do more than 1 stitch : ) I even managed some double clusters on the last row and now have my eyes on a scarf for me to snuggle under my Winter coat.

Remember this yarn? It was last seen disguised as the Little Leaf scarf of Doom. I think it looks much better as a sock.

And finally, my Alpaca is spinning up nicely. I have about 40g on my 50g spindle and still have plenty of room for more.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Learning to Crochet

I am a member of the Coventry Knit Wits group and they are a very friendly, cheerful and helpful group of knitters, crocheters, quilters etc. Most weeks someone is sharing something they have learned which makes the meetings fun and interesting.

Two weeks ago Julie showed me how to make a proper slip knot and how do do a chain using a crochet hook properly with the right things in the correct hand. She also taught me long tailed cast on which I have used for my second scarf attempt - more below about that.

Last week Jane took me in hand and taught me all the basics from my foundation row up to reading a chart. She was very patient with me but I'm not sure how much sunk in, watch this space for my first attempts LOL.

Meanwhile, I have cast on my Little Leaf lace scarf again:

This time I am using a semi-solid from the Yarnyard. It is one of the early skeins so it doesn't have a name. I hope the close up shows the way the not-quite-solid colour gives a rippling effect to the lace without overwhelming it.

The yarn is Bonny, a sock wool/nylon mix in 4 ply. There are 460 yards so I should get a reasonably long scarf from it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

That was quick!!

I have frogged my Little Leaves scarf already. I got to row 48 and realised that the yarn, beautiful though it is, was swamping the lace pattern. It just didn't look right and the lace couldn't be seen properly, so it had to go. The yarn will be converted into some socks for me : )

I nipped up to my very well insulated loft to have a look at yarns and came down with a skein of semi-solid sock yarn in green. I have got to row 20 now and it is looking much better. Hopefully photos will follow over the next day or two.

On a bad note - the sale of the farm fell through today. Strictly speaking, it didn't fall through as the buyers made an offer 25% lower than they were going to pay and left it to us to decide whether to accept this revised figure or not. The contracts were going to be signed this Friday so I think this is a pretty mean trick to play on behalf of the buyers. MIL felt she would prefer to say no rather than take this offer, and DH and BIL all agree. Fortunately MIL is content to stay put rather than loose 25% of the property value. I suppose, in this economic climate, gazundering is going to be all around now : (

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Knitted leaves

I am really getting the hang of knitting for myself now. This week I have cast on this project:

It is the 'Little Leaf Lace Scarf' by Sivia Harding. I am using Opal sock wool in the Neon colourway so that it will be nice and vibrant against my black Winter coat. The needles are Addi Lace circulars and I love the slight 'nobble' at the end which helps with doing the psso bits.

On the sock knitting front I have finished the 1st sock in Regia Mirage Earth. I decided to do 30 rows of rib and 40 rows of down to the ankle for extra grip and cosiness.

I spent 3 days in the wilderness known as second sock syndrome, but pulled myself together today and have made a start on the next one : )

Edited to add: My lovely ducky stitchmarker is from Yarnimals

The lovely Sprite has made me loads of stitchmarkers including sheep, pigs, and 4 custom-made cats. I also have horses and elephant markers from her : )

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Fibre Achievements This Week:

FO's: I finished my 'worm socks' and they are now hugging my cold toes. I even had to put the heating on this evening for the first time this Autumn.

WIP's: I immediately cast on the next pair for me. Its the Regia Kaffe Fassett mirage again - but this time in the Earth colourway. I am making the rib longer to keep my ankles warm. I discovered that my 'non-biological' Tesco Colours washing power has enzymes in it and I think that might be why last years socks have now disintegrated.

Spinning: The Alpaca fibre spinning is going well. I have been spinning 1o minutes a day for 8 days now (I missed a couple of days) and have spun up 25g. There is 100g in total and I have split it in half and will ply the 2 halves together when I have finished.

Buying: And last - but not least - a custom dye job from Babylonglegs. I had a yen for some green fibre and this is what she came up with. 100g of BFL. Scrummy!!!!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bluefaced Day

The Bluefaced in Question is the Gentleman in the left of the photo. His name is Andy and he is known as 'Mr Wool' He kindly invited all and sundry to his place for a Ravelry meet-up and wool/fibre/dyes fest. Great stuff. Also in the photo are Amanda from The Natural Dyes Studio, Jeni from Fyberspates and Debbie the Mulberry Dyer. Debbie from DT Crafts is lurking just out of shot.

Spinning also happened. Caecilia graciously demonstrated spinning on her wheel and encouraged others to have a go. The one seated is Cinders and Woolydoodles is on the right in the green aran jacket.

These are just a few of the yummy things for sale : )

I met Artis-Anne and Murdo too and Murdo's delightful daughters (and Mr Murdo)

And finally, a close-up of Caecilia's spinning - fine and even and beautiful!!!
PS Thanks Andy - the scones were lovely : )

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My own hand dyed handspun

Many moons ago I decided to try my hand at dyeing my own fibre. I bought some bog-standard Merino rovings and fetched my steam-fix silk dyes down from the loft. After a bit of trial and error (mostly error) I came up with these:

I only dyed about 25g of each one. Then came the spinning:

The yarn is very fine, sort of lace weight. Really, really thin which, considering i was using 50g spindles, was a bit unexpected. I wound off the yarn onto 2 ashford bobbins and put them onto my lazy kate and plied them on my trusty CD spindle.
This is the result:

It only weights about 16g and it is 155 yards long - but its all my own work!!!!
I have learnt several things from this experience. Dyeing is addictive and very satisfying. Lacewight takes a looooong time to spin and never, ever only dye a little bit because you cant repeat the colour.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Worm socks & Alpaca

These socks don't look like worms, they don't act like worms either, so why have I called them 'Worm Socks'? Well, I have gradually been losing my knitting and spinning mojo. I looked back on this years knitting and realised that, apart from a pair of gloves, everything i had made had gone to others. No wonder I felt low. On Ravelry there is a group called Selfish Knitters. They knit what they want, when they want. If they make something for someone else it is a conscious decision rather than the response to guilt or pressure. I have joined this group and the Worm Has Turned!!! For the next 6 months I pledge to knit something for me, and do some spindling for me every day. Hence the title of the socks, they are my first 'me' project since making the decision. I finished the first sock in 3 sessions and have immediately cast on for the second sock today and my knitting mojo has returned : ) The yarn is Regia Kaffe Fassett Mirage in the Canyon colourway.

I am also spinning 10 mins a day for myself. This is some Alpaca fibre from Chrispindle (also on Ravelry) in the Blue Moon colourway. It is sooo soft and fluffy and drafts beautifully. My spinning mojo has returned now too : )

I think the weather doesnt help - I had to take these photos on the workshop windowsill because it has been so overcast here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Harvest - well, sort of......

First the bad news: This was our total potato crop. Your eyes are not deceiving you, our crop consisted of 2 potatoes!!! The rest were either eaten by slugs or rotted in the Monsoons we have had this Summer.

Then the pears - what pears??? Plenty on the tree but they were rotten inside, and the salvageable bits were woody and tasteless : (

Now for the good news: Our Bramley apples tree is bursting with fruit. Loads and loads of huge apples the size of grapefruits. Our freezer is now stacked with apples. We also went blackberry picking on Saturday evening and got 13 lbs of blackberries for bramble jelly and blackberry & apple pies.

And finally, the runner beans. Not very many this year but they are very tasty and crunchy. We had some last night with our tea. Picked at 4pm, eaten at 6pm. You cant get much fresher than that!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Its Spring!!!

Some of you may remember that a few months ago the brick wall of my front garden was accidentally knocked down by our neighbour. We have now replaced the wall with a wooden fence and I think it looks much nicer. We just have to put the wrought iron gate on and it is finished. We found the gate in a barn while we were clearing out the farm and, once it has been rubbed down and has a lick of black paint, it should be just right:

Inside the front garden (and peeping over the top of the fence) the flowers think its Spring again and we have loads of buds opening up:

Even the chickens have been sunning themselves this week:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Knitting Counterpanes...and other books

I love book. No, I mean it.......I really love books. I used to be strict with myself and only have a certain amount of bookshelves. I tried very hard to limit the number of books that I had. But I failed. As you can see....I am not joking. This is just one of the walls of books in my house now. We just buy or build more shelves as my collection grows : )

I buy specific sorts of books. All the classics I can get my hands on, especially children's classics and the Victorian writers. Theology and psychology and philosophy books feature strongly too. But my favourite books are craft books. All sorts of crafts. DH collects books on woodworking and musical instrument making (because that's his day-job) and art books (cos that's his hobby) and Hardanger books (cos that's his other hobby).

I collect rare and out-of-print craft books, mainly heirloom sewing and knitting. Which brings me to the Knitted Counterpanes:

I read about this book in the latest issue of Spin-Off magazine and immediately wanted it. Of course, such a treasure was out-of-print. I tracked a copy down to a lady in America, paid a small fortune - and here it is!!!!! It is a fantastic resource and worth every penny. A big 'Thank you' to the seller and I am enjoying every page of it. Its not only a pattern book. It has the story behind the squares and borders too.

Tomorrow my dining room is turning into a wood yard. We are getting a delivery of 35 cubic feet of wood to make swifts, spindles, nostepinnes, niddy-noddys, and a harpsichord - and that's a lot of wood. Because the weather has been so wet for so long, the wood will be unusually damp and cant be used until it is dried out properly, so my dining room will have to do the job of a seasoning yard!!!

Oh well - Its an excuse to avoid housework and get some knitting done. Some Malabrigo sock yarn in Lettuce arrived today and I am sure I can use my 'housework' time making a scarf for me : )

Monday, September 8, 2008

Ombres & Delft

I love multi-coloured yarn, fabric and threads. I love solid colours too, but my favourite shades are the Ombres. I just find the single coloured yarns etc which go all the way from light to dark fascinating to work with. I get such pleasure from seeing something I knit or sew in, for example, Pink and seeing it develop from deepest Cyclamen to the palest pink blush of a Rosebud.

My Step-mother collects fine quality pieces of Delft pottery, including tiles. They are beautiful, intricate and delicate. Part of the patterning reminds me of lace and, with my love of ombres, the many shades of bue mesmerise me and I can look at them for hours.

I found a cross-stitch pattern in an old issue of Crosstitcher magazine. It was a set of 4 Delft tiles. Each one comprises of at least 8 shades of blue, plus white. How could I resist? So I present Tile Number 1, with the others to follow later:

They are about 5" square and will be framed and hung along the stairway of my blue and white hall.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Inspiration to Dye For!!

After the inspirational fibery goodness of my previous posting, I took the next step and ordered these goodies from DT Craft & Design

There are 4 squeezy bottles, and 3 primary colours plus some measuring spoons. I'm going to have fun playing with them next week : )

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Autumn Rainbows

While my camera was AWOL I received this wonderful fibery treat from Babylonglegs. It is 100g corriedale custom hand-dyed by her in the colours I love as part of a swop:

And, of course, new fibre means a new spindle to spin it on, so DH made me this one:

A very basic shaft with minimal shaping and a cup hook. The shaft and whorl are both Beech and it weighs about 45g. See you later - I'm off to play with my new toys : )

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Skiing and Knitting

DH and DS got washed out on their canoeing and camping trip and returned home early - wet but OK. We had some free time still so decided last Thursday to go to the Snowdome at Tamworth. It looked a bit scary from where I sat - and this isn't the top!!!

What goes up:

Must come down:

I stayed safely at the bottom, knitting the front of a cricket jumper for DS : )

We now all have the dreaded lurgy but are hoping to see the Hologram exhibition in Rugby next week.